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India-born candidates hope to break 25-year drought in Queensland parliament

Source: SBS

It’s been 25 years since an India-born MP has sat in Queensland's Parliament but in this year's election some candidates hope to change that.

Despite hailing from the world’s largest democracy, for 25 years no Indian has sat in Queensland’s parliament since Labor’s Anne Warner's 12-year term ended in 1995. British-raised from childhood, Anglo-Indian Anne Warner was Queensland’s first and only Indian-born MP, an against-the-odds candidate who became a surprise victor, then a minister: a first for a woman of colour. 

Pinky Singh is a first-time candidate for the LNP in the Brisbane seat of McConnel.

Tamil Nadu-born Palani Thevar is a first-time Labor candidate in Maiwar and a former president of the Indian Federation of Queensland.

A two-time Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate in the seat of Bancroft, Nik Aai Reddy ((nik eye ready)) says race isn’t a barrier, and denies his party is racist. 

 "I think it’s not just about the Indian community but we definitely need some new Australians coming forward, with fresh ideas to deliver for the community, for Queenslanders and Australians. I believe this the only party that speaks up for all Australians, it doesn’t matter where you come from."

Dr Juliet Pietsch from Griffith University looks at Australia’s dramatic lag behind Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom on immigrant parliamentary representation and accuses the parties of pre-selection tokenism.

"It has that symbolic impact, that they care about ethnic issues, that they care about representation.  In Australia we are much more fearful of talking about issues like structural inequality, political inequality and that goes right back to our history of our White Australia policy."

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